Sadhguru is an individual of many facets, so for now, let’s just focus on his approach to nutrition. His approach to longevity certainly merits respect and study, because as of now (in the year 2023), his biological age is about half of his actual age – approximately 30 years younger!
Sadhguru’s approach to nutrition is based on several principles, some of which are rooted in the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions. Here are his main principles of nutrition:
- Recognition of Body’s Needs: Sadhguru emphasizes the importance of recognizing what type of ‘vehicle’ you are to choose the right fuel for your body. Our bodies have different needs, and the diet should be adjusted accordingly.
- Timeliness of Consumption: According to the yogic culture, food should be consumed within 1.5 hours of its preparation to avoid feeling lethargic. Consuming food beyond this timeframe could lead to a lack of energy and dynamism.
- Food as Fuel: Food is essentially fuel for the body. Choosing the right type of food is akin to choosing the right type of fuel for a vehicle to ensure optimal performance.
- Types of Food: In yogic and Ayurvedic traditions, foods are categorized into three types – Sattvic (pure), Rajasic (stimulating), and Tamasic (dulling) – based on their effects on the body and mind. Sadhguru emphasizes a diet that leans towards Sattvic foods, especially for those on a spiritual path.
- Freshness of Food: For our well-being, Sadhguru recommends that the food we consume should be fresh, as opposed to the common practice of eating semi-finished products prepared months in advance.
- Genetic Distance: Sadhguru suggests consuming food that is genetically furthest from us. In other words, foods from the plant kingdom are preferred. If non-vegetarian food is a must, he recommends fish, as it is more genetically distant from humans compared to other animals.
- Awareness of Digestion Times: Different foods have different digestion times, which can significantly influence energy levels and bodily functions. Foods that take longer to digest can ferment and decompose in the gut, leading to potentially harmful bacterial activity.
- Intermittent Fasting: Sadhguru supports the practice of intermittent fasting, especially on Ekadashi days (the 11th day after a full moon and a new moon). However, it’s crucial to prepare oneself psychologically and physiologically before embarking on a fast.
- Meal Frequency: He suggests that individuals under 30 may benefit from three meals a day, while those over 30 should consider reducing their meals to twice a day.
- Quality over Quantity: The quality of the ‘fuel’ we put into our bodies is paramount, as it impacts our overall health and well-being. He stresses the importance of being observant and aware, rather than blindly following advice.
Now let’s take a closer look at these principles.
Sadhguru suggests that in order to choose the right fuel for your body, you need to first recognize what type of ‘vehicle’ you are. He underscores the importance of nutrition for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and advises against turning food into a religion. His advice is to simply eat sensibly.
According to the yogic culture, it is best to consume food within 1.5 hours of its preparation to avoid feeling lethargic and inert.
Sadhguru emphasizes the notion that food is essentially fuel for the body. Just like choosing the right type of fuel for your car to ensure optimal performance, the same applies to our bodies. He compares choosing the wrong food to using kerosene as fuel – it might get you started but it could also lead to problems and suboptimal performance.
Sadhguru stresses the role of proper nutrition as a crucial part of our health. He advises that for our wellbeing and that of our children, we must ensure the food we consume is fresh. He points out the common American practice of eating semi-finished products prepared months in advance, and counters this with the yogic practice of consuming food within 1.5 hours of preparation. Consuming food beyond this timeframe, he warns, could lead to lethargy and lack of dynamism.
Furthermore, Sadhguru discusses the link between diet and sleep. While the standard medical advice is to sleep at least 8 hours a day, following this recommendation would mean sleeping away one-third of your life. Thus, he implies that our food choices might have a bearing on the amount of sleep we require.
In yogic and Ayurvedic traditions, which Sadhguru often references in his teachings, foods are categorized into three types – Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic – based on the qualities they are believed to imbue in the individual consuming them. These categories are part of the broader concept of “gunas,” which are the three fundamental energies or attributes that govern human behavior and natural phenomena.
- Sattvic Foods: These are considered the purest form of foods, which promote clarity, understanding, and spiritual growth. Sattvic foods are usually fresh, organic, and naturally grown, and include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. They are thought to promote a peaceful and clear mind.
- Rajasic Foods: These foods are typically rich, flavorful, and spicy, and can stimulate physical activity and restlessness. Rajasic foods include onions, garlic, tea, coffee, and many types of spices. They are believed to stimulate the body and mind into action, but can also lead to agitation when consumed in excess.
- Tamasic Foods: These are often processed, stale, or overcooked, resulting in a loss of nutrients. They are considered to create dullness or inertia in the mind and body. Tamasic foods include alcohol, meat, and fermented foods. Consuming tamasic foods is believed to dampen one’s energy and create confusion or disorientation. Tamas signifies inertia. If you consume this ‘lethargic’ food, you too will become lethargic.
Sadhguru emphasizes a diet that leans towards Sattvic foods for those on a spiritual path, as it is believed to create a calm and clear mind, which is conducive to spiritual practices.
Our body, says Sadhguru, is merely a cumulative result of the food you’ve consumed, processed, and assimilated. What the ingested food transforms into is determined by the intellect, memory, and genetic code of our bodies. To illustrate this, he posits an apple as an example. The same apple could become part of a woman, a man, or a cow, depending on who consumes it.
A principle within the yogic tradition, Sadhguru suggests, is to consume that which is genetically furthest from us. From this perspective, the plant kingdom stands the farthest from us.
As life evolves, the information and memory carried by an organism becomes significantly more complex. If non-vegetarian food is a must for some, he recommends fish, as it is much more distant from humans compared to other animals. It’s believed that the first form of animal life on this planet originated in water, with the first avatar being Matsya, or fish.
For a hundred years, physicians have insisted that meat is the best food. Yet recently, they’ve begun to shift their views. They’ve started claiming that beef is a major cause of many heart diseases in America. Over the past few years, they’ve also been linking meat consumption to cancer. Yogic culture, on the other hand, has asserted for 10,000 years that if you consume food with complex genetic codes, your system will eventually break down. This conclusion was reached without multimillion-dollar studies, but rather through observing the processes occurring within our systems after food consumption. With enough attention to this, Sadhguru assures, one will understand. Every living being grasps this. A dog knows what it can and cannot eat. Humans, however, often rely solely on external information, neglecting their inherent awareness.
Sadhguru’s unique standpoint on water consumption is another facet worth delving into. Unlike the widespread belief of drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, Sadhguru suggests drinking water only when you’re thirsty. This mirrors an argument of a contingent of scientists who caution against overhydration, suggesting that thirst should be our natural guide.
As stated by Sadhguru, it is essential to intermittently fast, particularly if you’re accustomed to consuming large quantities of food. However, embarking on a fast without proper preparation could lead to potential harm to your health. Thus, if you decide to fast, it is crucial to prepare yourself both psychologically and physiologically to cope with the absence of food.
Our bodies run on a lunar calendar, and there are certain days in this cycle where our digestive systems are not at their best. These two days, known as Ekadashi, fall on the 11th day after a full moon and a new moon. On these days, it’s best to either consume light food or abstain from food altogether.
Ekadashi is deeply ingrained in our systems. If you have the capability to fast, please do so. However, if fasting is not feasible for you, then stick to a fruit-based diet referred to as “palahar”. Regrettably, in the Tamil language, “pala” means “many”, leading many people in Tamil Nadu to think that they should eat an array of foods on Ekadashi! As a result, they consume a variety of snacks, which might be worse than their regular meals. No, “palahar” implies a “fruit diet”. The idea here is to eat something that is easily digestible when you can’t abstain from food entirely.
Consider this, cooked meat takes about 48-52 hours to digest, while raw meat takes approximately 72 hours. Therefore, if your aim is to lighten the load on your digestive system during Ekadashi, opting for fruits, which are easily digestible, is the better choice.
So, approach fasting with a mindset of preparation and respect for your body’s rhythms and needs. This way, you can use the practice to enhance your overall well-being, as suggested by Sadhguru.
Different foods have varying digestion times, which can significantly influence our energy levels and bodily functions. The longer the food takes to digest, the more it ferments and decomposes in your gut. This unnecessary increase in bacterial activity can be harmful to the body. Rather than leading a healthy lifestyle, people often rely on medicines to counteract the negative effects of poor dietary choices. These medicines become necessary because the body is producing toxins due to improper food consumption.
The quality of ‘fuel’ we put into our bodies matters greatly. Drawing an analogy, Sadhguru mentioned how he never stops at gas stations offering ethanol-blended gasoline in the United States. He noted that upon learning about ethanol-blended fuels 12 years ago, he intuitively recognized that this fuel would lead to engine rust. His common-sense deduction was confirmed by scientific studies 12 years later, proving that ethanol-blended fuels do cause engine corrosion. The underlying message is the importance of being observant and aware, rather than relying on external advice.
Sadhguru doesn’t often disclose specific details about his personal dietary habits, but he suggests that we shouldn’t constantly eat throughout the day:
If you are under 30, three meals a day will fit well into your life. If you are over 30, it is better to reduce the number of meals to 2 times a day.
What others say
Many individuals who follow Sadhguru’s diet and lifestyle teachings emphasize the importance of mindful eating. They advocate for consuming food slowly, thoroughly chewing, and ensuring a peaceful state of mind during meals. This approach is seen as vital for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
These individuals also highlight the strong link between diet and physical and mental well-being, with particular attention given to gut health. It’s understood that disturbances in digestive health can disrupt mental stability and overall well-being.
Despite the struggle with bad habits, such as alcohol and energy drink consumption, these individuals persist in their efforts to change. They understand the importance of personal growth and self-love in this transformative process.
Sadhguru’s dietary teachings also carry spiritual significance for many. By embracing these guidelines, followers believe they can achieve spiritual enlightenment, transcending self-imposed limitations and experiencing a deeper sense of bliss and responsibility.
Expressions of gratitude for Sadhguru’s teachings are common among his followers. They appreciate his clear and inspiring guidance. Despite facing personal challenges, such as health issues or transitioning to a vegetarian diet, they continue to value and implement Sadhguru’s advice. Some also incorporate natural remedies, like turmeric and ginger, into their daily diet, and note the positive energy these practices bring.
Sadhguru’s nutritional principles focus on the quality and freshness of food, timeliness of consumption, awareness of digestion times, and mindful eating practices such as intermittent fasting and adjusting meal frequency with age. He advocates for an intuitive and self-aware approach to nutrition, encouraging individuals to recognize and respect their body’s needs and rhythms.
The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. The content presented on this website should be considered solely as opinions and personal experiences. Read more